My latest Borrowbox 👂earbook is Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World [Penguin 2019] by Clive Thompson, who writes for the NYT and Wired. It's read rather well by Rene Ruiz and is an interesting dive into TechBro culture and its sense of manifest destiny: the delusion that Silicon Valley is a meritocracy. All those white frat-boys who retired on their money before they turned 30 and believe that the $$$s showered down because of their unique native genius. There is a shiver of truth in that someone had to have the idea (and someone had to implement it in code) which changed how millions of people interact with the world. But lots of .com millionaires were just adequate coders who were available when required . . . and prepared to pull a few all-nighters to prepare product for launch day.
So now we have a FAANG culture driven by Harvard and Stanford math-geek graduates - and their wannabees - who are complacent in their bubble, intolerant of difference, and profoundly ignorant about the real world. Facial recognition software that is excellent at distinguishing one spotty white face from another but flags all black faces as "gorilla". That sort of thing is a failure of imagination as well as ethics. It all your bros did the vom in Harvard Yard back in the day because they couldn't hold their liquor, then there is nobody to pull you up on the narrowness of your worldview. Foosball in the Google workplace? That seems a peculiarly adolescent perk to have fitted as standard.
Thompson unpicks this sense of entitlement with several compelling counter-examples. The most obvious one is the up-and-down history of women who code. The first ever coder was Ada Lovelace [1815 - 1852] after all and most of the early "computers" were women. The boys thought that the interesting stuff was the well 'ardware - voltmeters, vacuum-tubes, screwdrivers and left all that typing and card-punching to girls which became software. Of course, when it became apparent that coding was mentally challenging, fulfilling, fast-moving and, well, the point of all the hardware then the boys stopped disparaging and started displacing. Even today front-end, user interface is considered soft while back-end, server-side is where the real men hang out. Serial misogyny since 1948. Grace Hopper - Margaret Hamilton - Margaret Dayhoff - etc. etc.
Coders: good stuff, recommended.